Israeli hotel denies Conservative group use of Torah


An Israeli hotel denied the use of a Torah scroll to a group that intended to use it in a mixed-gender service.

The religious supervisor at the hotel at Kibbutz Shefayim refused to allow a group of students from the Conservative Solomon Schechter Day School in Westchester, N.Y., to use the hotel’s Torah scroll for a Shabbat service, The Jerusalem Post reported.

According to one of the group’s counselors, the supervisor said the scroll could only be used in a service in which men and women sit separately and women are not called to the Torah. The group declined to use the Torah and held an egalitarian service.

A spokesperson declined to comment, saying that no formal complaint had been filed.

“A hotel does not have the right to discriminate between the different religious practices of its guests,” said Rabbi Andrew Sacks, the director of the Conservative movement’s rabbinical association in Israel.

The spokesperson said the hotel’s policy is that groups wishing to their their own service must also provide their own scroll.